The three month deadline set by the Lahore Development Authority general body for the widening of Garden Town’s Main Boulevard on February 28 has passed, yet work on one section of the road has not yet been completed.
An LDA spokesman said the delay was caused because they were making sure that no compromise was made on quality. He said the widening of both sections of the road would be complete by the end of July.
Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency director Israr Saeed, who is in charge of the project, was not available for comment.
So far, work on the section of road from Kalma Chowk up to the Y-junction near Barkat Market is partially complete. The section from the Y-junction to the underpass is yet to begin. The LDA has already moved machinery to the other section without first completing work on the first half.
The widening of the road was needed to facilitate traffic to and from the underpass under construction at Kalma Chowk.
Under the project plan, the LDA was to widen the Main Boulevard from Kalma Chowk through the Y-Junction up to the Campus underpass on the Canal Road to a six-lane dual carriageway. The width of service lanes was to be widened to six metres.
The delay has caused severe inconvenience for the residents in areas surroundings the road. They said their travel time between home and work had increased since the start of widening work and that they had to suffer through several traffic jams a day. Business people said their sales had gone down because customers preferred travelling a few extra miles to other markets rather than taking their vehicles on the dilapidated road.
Tahir Imran, a manager at a restaurant in Barkat Market, said sales at most shops had gone down since the start of the widening work.
“We realise that widening will be good for businesses in the long run but how long can we sit idle and wait for the LDA to complete work?” he said.
Ahmad Khan, a resident of Garden Town, said that despite some controversies about the design and environmental impact of the Kalma Chowk project, its construction was going on at a rapid pace. The Main Boulevard widening project, he said, was much simpler yet its completion was nowhere in sight.
The project will cost the LDA Rs309 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2011.